[Cerebral mechanisms of hypnosis].

  • Mme E Faymonville
  • Published 2004 in
    Bulletin et mémoires de l'Académie royale de me…


The neural mechanisms underlying hypnosis and especially the modulation of pain perception by hypnosis remain obscure. Using PET we first described the distribution of regional cerebral blood flow during the hypnotic state. Hypnosis relied on revivification of pleasant autobiographical memories and was compared to imaging autobiographical material in <<normal alertness>>. The hypnotic state was related to the activation of a widespread set of cortical areas involving occipital, parietal, precentral, premotor, and ventrolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. This pattern of activation shares some similarities with mental imagery, from which it mainly differs by the relative deactivation of precuneus. Second, we looked at the anti-nociceptive effects of hypnosis. Compared to the resting state, hypnosis reduced pain perception by approximately 50 %. The hypnosis-induced reduction of affective and sensory responses to noxious thermal stimulation were modulated by the activity in the midcingulate cortex (area 24a'). Finally, we assessed changes in cerebral functional connectivity related to hypnosis. Compared normal alertness (i.e., rest and mental imagery), the hypnotic state, significantly enhanced the functional to modulation between midcingulate cortex and a large neural network involved in sensory, affective, cognitive and behavioral aspects of nociception. These findings show that not only pharmacological but also psychological strategies for pain control can modulate the cerebral network involved in noxious perception.

Cite this paper

@article{Faymonville2004CerebralMO, title={[Cerebral mechanisms of hypnosis].}, author={Mme E Faymonville}, journal={Bulletin et mémoires de l'Académie royale de médecine de Belgique}, year={2004}, volume={159 7-9}, pages={447-60; discussion 460-3} }